Furious residents who are fighting a long-running battle to save their open space from a housing development were outraged when trees on the site were felled on Monday.
Three mature trees on the green behind Ickley Road and Butely Close were chopped down by workers before the residents could find out why, but Luton Borough Council has since categorically stated that the trees were not cut down for the housing development.
Residents say they were told conflicting stories by the workers, who first said they were felling trees ready for the proposed new road and development and had paperwork from the council, but later, the workmen said they were cutting trees to make space for a “compound”.
Stephanie Stiff, of Butely Close, said: “These trees should never have been felled as there was ample space on the other side of the road for a ‘compound’.
“The ‘compound’ just happened to be where the council want the new road to go if it is approved by the Secretary of State. Now of course the council can say they have room for the road, how convenient.”
A council spokesperson said the trees being cut down is “absolutely nothing to do with any housing development on the site”.
They said the trees were cut down by a contractor who was working for UK Power Networks, who are upgrading the electricity infrastructure across the north of Luton.
They said: “The removal of the trees was necessary so that a new electricity main can be installed across the site as part of this work which will supply 15,000 homes in the area.
“The removal of any tree is of course regrettable, but unfortunately these particular trees were directly on the route of the cable so there was no alternative.”
The spokesperson said removal of the trees was approved under the condition that the ancient hedgerow on the site is protected.
The trees did not have a protection order.
Martin Stiff is now appealing the legality of the council being allowed to give the land to the housing developers.